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Young Swimmer Has Hit a Wall

QUESTION:

Hi,

My 13 daughter seems to have hit a wall in her swimming. She has been competing since she was 7. She trains 5-6 days a week from May to August (summer swim team), and 1-2 hours per week in the winter. Every year, she gets very fatigued looking in July right before our regionals on the first weekend in August. She is strong for her age, as she competes in rock climbing in the winter. She says that though she tries hard, she can’t get her muscles to work. Her times have plateaued for the past two seasons, and she is struggling to improve. She hasn’t hit any major growth spurts, and is average height for her age. Should she pull back in training amounts before regionals? Do you think that her muscles need more recovery time? Are there supplements she should be taking?

Thanks!

ANSWER:

Hi,

This is a hard question to answer without knowing your daughter, however it would seem to me that if there is a pattern each year that she gets fatigued in July after three months of training 5-6 days a week that she may need to ease off a bit at this time to ensure she doesn’t fatigue too much and then can not get back to her best by the time regionals come around.  You should discuss the idea of pulling back slightly with her coach and make a decision together.  It may be worth trying as her muscles may need more recovery time.

I personally am a big believer in 12 week preparations because I often found young swimmers would fatigue around weeks 15 to 18 so by doing 12 weeks and then gradually resting up over 2 weeks (14 weeks total), a majority of my swimmers would swim really well.  Each coach will think a bit differently about this, and there is no right or wrong answer.

At 13 years she may start a growth spurt at any time.  In the long term, so long as she is training well and improving her technique and skills, she will have a breakthrough at some stage and it will all be worth it 🙂

I am not an expert in supplements and would suggest you discuss this with your sports doctor or nutritionist.

Regards

Gary

The Swimming Expert



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